LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sonny Gray’s masterful pitching and Justin Turner’s mysterious leg infection combined to ruin another homecoming for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gray pitched a three-hitter in his second shutout in July, and the Oakland Athletics snapped their four-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Howie Kendrick had two hits and Brett Anderson pitched seven innings of five-hit ball for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who opened a five-game homestand after a 10-game trip with their third straight loss. Los Angeles’ day got off to a bad start when Turner, its third baseman and top hitter, was sent to an emergency room before the game to get treatment of an infection on his right thigh.
“On the last road trip, he was probably the best hitter in baseball,” Anderson said. “I guess everybody’s got kind of weird things going on. I mean, you wouldn’t expect a pimple or a zit or a bug bite or whatever it is to become an issue and become inflamed. But baseball is a weird game, and weird things happen over the course of a season.”
Gray retired the first 11 batters and faced only three hitters over the minimum in his first career start against the Dodgers. He even got his first major league hit in the eighth inning, sneaking a single down the right field line.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” Kendrick said. “He just threw a lot of strikes and got outs when he needed them. We hit some balls hard, but right at guys.”
Anderson (5-6) looked sharp against his former team after a full week off to rest a mild Achilles tendon injury, but the Dodgers provided little help.
“I think there were only two guys in their lineup that I played with,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, one of them got three hits and a home run.”
Josh Reddick homered, doubled and singled for the last-place A’s, who traded Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir and closer Tyler Clippard in the past six days, seemingly abandoning their playoff hopes after making three straight postseasons. Yet Gray and Reddick provided exactly what manager Bob Melvin wants out of his team for the final two months.
“It gives everybody a little boost of confidence,” said Reddick, who capitalized on a rare chance to hit against a left-hander. “We can still win a lot of ballgames. We’ve just got to keep that confidence in ourselves and believe in ourselves. We’ve been saying all day, the main goal is to win ballgames, with or without those guys.”
Oakland won with another gem from Gray (11-4), who struck out nine as he cruised through his fourth career shutout and lowered his ERA to an AL-best 2.16. The right-hander didn’t allow a runner to reach third base while improving to 8-1 with a 1.64 ERA on the road this season.
Gray didn’t even let the Dodgers get the ball into the outfield before Adrian Gonzalez’s two-out double in the fourth. Andre Ethier was caught stealing after drawing Gray’s only walk in the fifth, and Kendrick was stranded on second in the seventh after a leadoff single.
Gray got his milestone hit with an unfamiliar bat: Kazmir left for Houston last week with the bat they had been sharing all season. Gray tried Sam Fuld’s bat earlier in the game before borrowing a top-heavy 32-ouncer from Billy Butler for his big hit. “Now he gets to keep it,” Butler said. “He was telling me, ‘Pick me out a winner.'”
A LAKER TOWN
New Clippers signee Paul Pierce was booed by Dodger Stadium’s famously loyal Lakers fans before he threw the ceremonial first pitch — and then booed again when he bounced it. Pierce laughed and smiled at the jeers of “Airball!”
Athletics: Edward Mujica is taking over as the A’s closer after Clippard was traded to the Mets. Newly acquired right-hander Aaron Brooks will start Saturday.
Dodgers: Manager Don Mattingly isn’t sure when Turner will play again.
Athletics: Jesse Chavez (5-10, 3.45 ERA) is second in the AL in losses despite the league’s eighth-lowest ERA.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.51 ERA) is 3-0 with a 0.27 ERA in July, striking out 45 and walking two.